Hip flexors are a series of muscles in the hips that help flex the femur and other parts of the leg and back. They are a common source of pain for many people, and hip flexor exercises can help alleviate that pain and build strength and flexibility. All hip flexor exercises should begin and end with a good stretching routine to prevent injury and stiffness, and as is the case with all exercises, hip flexor exercises should be performed as part of a workout that is done consistently over a long period of time to show the best results.
Some hip flexor exercises are quite simple and can be done at home. Keep a chair nearby for stability when performing these exercises. Start with a hip extension by standing with the feet about hip width apart. Then, slowly left one leg backward and hold the position for several seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. Do ten repetitions with each leg, then rest and repeat the exercise again, depending on current level of fitness.
The same idea is used for hip abductions. Standing with the feet hip-width apart, lift one leg outward away from the body until the foot is sufficiently raised off the ground. Hold the position, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg and do several repetitions for each leg, as described above. These exercises should be performed slowly to avoid momentum, which will not help with real muscle growth and conditioning. Slow movements allow the hip flexor exercises to really work the hip muscles; the hips must support the weight of the leg during the exercises.
Leg circles and leg raises are two good hip flexor exercises that can also be done at home. To do leg circles, one should lie flat on his or her back, preferably on a padded mat for comfort. Keeping the back straight, raise one leg straight up so it is close to perpendicular in relation to the floor. Begin to swing the foot in a circular motion in one direction for eight revolutions, then switch directions for eight revolutions. Be sure to engage the hip flexor muscles rather than simply letting the momentum move the foot. Repeat the exercise with the other leg as well.
The last addition to a hip flexor exercise routine is the leg raise. One should lie flat on his or her back for this exercise as well. Keeping the back straight and the hips engaged, lift one leg off the ground about eight to ten inches and hold the position for ten seconds. Rest, then repeat for several repetitions. Do the exercise with the other leg as well.